Responsible tourism used interchangeably with sustainable tourism is the type of tourism that ensures the socio-cultural, natural and economic aspects are used well and cared for both now and the future. This supports ecosystem protection and restoration. For the Kenyan tourism industry to actualize a greener approach to tourism, understanding the concept first is crucial. However, there are common misguiding on the topic that deter many from practicing it. Let’s take a look at common misconceptions surrounding sustainable tourism.
- ‘It is expensive’
Quite contrary to how things are. Unless you are allergic to Google or search engines, there is a lot of free available knowledge that can be accessed to help one know more about sustainable tourism. There may be pieces of training by specific organizations e.g. Ecotourism Kenya or certification programs e.g. Travelife that require payment. However, they do not break bank and prove to be valuable in the long run.
- ‘It is uncomfortable’
Many think that luxury and sustainable tourism are arch-nemesis and cannot exist in the same place. But, sustainable tourism is not exclusive to certain types of tourism like backpacking. It can be practiced in all forms of tourism, yes, even in cruise travel. Tourists are not subjected to roughing it through their travel experience. One can pleasantly enjoy their trip while eating from local eateries, volunteering or donating to a worthy cause that helps the local community.
- ‘It is difficult’
Some avoid switching to green practices because they fear responsible tourism to be inconvenient or hard to implement. This is, however, not the case. For instance, switching to whiteboards saves on paper, using green technology saves electricity bills, using reusable water bottles and cups saves money that would have been used to buy single-use plastic bottles. Tourism service providers can also get trained to properly understand and execute sustainable tourism and eventually get certified.
- ‘It is niche tourism’
This misconception can also be rephrased to ‘sustainable tourism only relates to the environment. Responsible tourism involves the protection and good use of people, place and profit. All types of tourism interact with these three entities. Sustainable tourism ensures that they are in use indefinitely and bringing positive effects to all three. If sustainable tourism can be implemented by all types of tourism, then it can be practiced anywhere there is tourism. From the beach to the city, from the rural to the urban destinations. It is not restricted to distant exotic destinations alone.
Having debunked these myths on responsible tourism, we give a thumbs up to those already practicing it and encouraging them to continue to do so. For those who are yet to join the movement, we welcome you on board. #GenerationRestoration
Thank you for reading!